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Thread: Jet 16-32 drum sander problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    21

    Jet 16-32 drum sander problems

    Hi all,
    I bought myself a Christmas present a year ago - a Jet 16-32 drum sander. My first test runs were great, beautiful flat sanding, ready for 220 ROS and finish. But then I tried sanding larger panels and kept running into problem after problem. Snipe on leading or trailing edge - or both. OK, so I leave everything long and cut it to length.
    Then I got gouging in one spot when it would stop feeding into the machine and I could either push/pull until the whole thing could fall over and it wouldn't feed any better. OK, try taking less bite, slow the feed rate down - nothing helped.
    And then the ripples - inconsistent feed rate. fine.

    My diagnosis is operator error. But me being the stubborn type, I blamed the arrows anyway.
    I have tried changing feed rates, using infeed/outfeed rollers, applied lots or little upward pressure while feeding boards, tightened the feed belt, tightened and loosened the rollers... And so far I have had consistently inconsistent (bad) results.

    I have the paper tight and touching. There is one bit at the end that would constantly loosen up and double over near the infamous clip. Could that small issue cause the whole big problem??

    Clueless in upstate NY.... I am ready to sell that danged thing since it has caused more headaches than happiness.

    Any help will be appreciated.
    thanks,
    john

    Hobbyist woodworker in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by John Fairbairn III View Post
    ...My diagnosis is operator error...
    I have the paper tight and touching. There is one bit at the end that would constantly loosen up and double over near the infamous clip. Could that small issue cause the whole big problem??...
    Yep--operator error:
    Trying to take off too much at a time
    Loose sandpaper end
    Sandpaper wraps possibly too close together.

    Feed narrow pieces through at an angle, not straight through.
    Also you must use a sufficiently effective dust collector while operating the drum sander.
    Clean or replace your sandpaper regularly.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    1,103
    Yep...Operator Error (Sorry). The things Andy said above plus:

    Sand paper spiraled the correct direction on the drum
    No overlaps of the sandpaper
    Retighten sandpaper after beginning use of new paper. It stretches.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    198
    John,

    Some points I've learned the hard way:

    1. Take light passes - I take 1/8 turn passes on my Super Max 25-50 using 180 grit paper. When I take heavier passes, the drum gets behind and eventually the feed belt stalls, causing a gouge. If you send the piece through again on the same depth setting and the drum is taking a noticeable amount of material off on the second pass, your passes are too heavy.

    2. I had to increase the down force of the infeed and outfeed rollers that sit on either side of the drum. I called Super Max and reset these rollers to factory spec then added a turn to the spring tension.

    3. I've had consistent issues when using the infeed and outfeed tables with longer pieces (obviously I don't have them aligned properly) so I stopped using them.

    4. I always seem to gouge large pieces (like a 60" x 30" x 1" maple panel) so I always stand there and push/pull large pieces through. Fortunately, I mostly use the drum sander for bent laminations, shop sawn veneer, and smaller panels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    605
    I like my Supermax 19-38, but it is a tool that required perfect set up and perfect operating skills. Any inconsistency in feed rate or pressure or weight leverage of the board and you have issues. If you don’t have the time to gently guide your pieces through and take light passes, you will not be happy with the results. But when you do it right, it is really satisfying to see how flat it can make a wide board.

    Dan

  6. #6
    I have same unit, via my dad. As per others, keep the sanding drum clean (dried glue squeeze out is NOT your friend here). For woods that burn easily (cherry), I run at least 50-60% of conveyor speed, but VERY small cuts (1/8-turn or less). In fact, small cuts have become the standard - no matter the wood. Replacement feed belt quality is also problematic. They can can stretch unevenly (= parallelogram), or they were that way on delivery, so one side wants to slip.

    IMO, the tool is at best a slow jointer/planer.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 01-04-2022 at 6:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    8,114
    Snipe is caused by sagging on the infeed and/or outfeed. Roller stands set at the same height as the conveyor fix that problem for me when processing long/heavy panels. Stalling is due to trying to take too large a bite, or a warped panel.

    Things tend to go much better when the depth of cut is no more than 0.005" regardless of speed. Probably half of that with grits above 120. Seriously.

    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,886
    A lot of people think they have an abrasive planer. You would if you had a wide belt machine, but you have a hobby level drum sander. It's just to remove a bit of chip out and make it flat. As mentioned, the panel has to be flat on at least one side to work well at all.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 01-04-2022 at 11:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    ...It's just to remove a bit of chip out and make it flat. As mentioned, the panel has to be flat on at least one side to work well at all.
    Actually not so.

    I use my 22-44 mostly for thicknessing those workpieces which cannot be done in a thickness plane. For example, I have made large panels of custom teak and "holly" flooring out of teak plywood with maple inlay strips set into routed grooves. These strips are necessarily left proud of the teak veneer so that they can be weighted down during glue-up. After the epoxy glue dries the panel is run through the drum sander to bring the maple strips down flush with the veneer, which is very thin and so must be treated with extreme care.

    Solid edging for panels is thicknessed on the drum sander so as to minimize the amount of material to remove following glue-up. This eliminates any chance of tear-out.

    Plywood for splines are thicknessed when necessary.

    There are more examples I could list of cases where the drum sander can do what the thickness plane cannot, but my point is simply that the drum sander is capable of much more than removing chip-out and flattening workpieces.

    Edit to add photo.

    Last edited by andy bessette; 01-05-2022 at 1:07 AM.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    A lot of people think they have an abrasive planer. ...
    Heat is the major killer, IMHO. My dad tried to treat his drum sander as such a planer when he first got it, taking what turns out to be very heavy cuts of 1/32" or even 1/16". When he gave up his shop and brought tools to mine, 'we' had an epiphany. Heat builds up incredibly fast in the drum and absolutely destroys the sandpaper - it would pull out, overlap, tear, and even burn. The resin in the wood (and/or dried glue) would coat the paper like it was smeared with epoxy. Bad spots on the belt would deeply burn the wood. At times, he'd get 1 or 2 passes before replacement paper was mandatory.

    Our fix tracks Mr. TenEyck's recommendation of 0.005" cuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    ...strips... ...edging... ...splines...
    I would only add that in the cases that Mr. Bessette cites, the sanding surface is only lightly engaged with the relative narrow 'proud' areas of the work surface (if I properly understand his process?). The aluminum drum can more easily disperse this heat to drum areas that are not engaged, and so you might try a 0.015" cut. If you're feeling lucky. (At 8-10$/wrap, I'll stick with 5-10 thou.)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    11,647
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    A lot of people think they have an abrasive planer. You would if you had a wide belt machine, but you have a hobby level drum sander. It's just to remove a bit of chip out and make it flat. As mentioned, the panel has to be flat on at least one side to work well at all.
    That is not necessarily true. Perhaps it is with the way you use your drum sander. I use mine often when neither side is flat. I don't usually sand long boards or wide panels but mostly use it for smaller things, fairly short rectangular boards, or cut round or to some other shape. One example is these turning blanks, used to make the things like shown in the second photo.

    IMG_7484.jpg penta_platter_Kristina_finished_comp3.jpg

    I cut these out of 6/4 and thicker boards - they are usually 6-16" across. Most are rough sawn, sometimes cut with a chain saw. Some start out with significant cupping or other warping. My goal is to have two flat and parallel sides, easy with the drum sander. Sometimes I do this so I can better see the surface and the figure any any defects before I decide exactly where to cut a blank. I usually do a dozen or so of these at once, feeding continuously, varying the feed angle often.

    I have the Performax 22-44 and use coarse paper when flattening for lathe use.

    The wood can start out seriously cupped or twisted. Yes, I know I can mount and turn a warped piece of wood. But I choose to flatten these because that's the way I like to work. Besides letting me better examine the wood I want at least one side flat since I initially mount with a Glaser screw chuck and I want it tight against a flat surface.

    If cupped, I put the concave surface down against the belt and run the wood through enough times to make a flat surface on perhaps 1/2 of the convex side, maybe more, maybe less. Like others, I make very small increments in height reduction. Then I flip the wood over and run it through until it flattens part of both edges on the convex side. After that, it's a series of passes with small thickness changes, flipping the blank as needed until it is flat on both sides.

    In the case where the wood is significantly twisted it's easy to slip (or glue) a thin shim under one corner to prevent rocking while making the other side flat.

    In addition, I often give these blanks to friends and students and when I auction them at demos (proceeds go to the club), a nice, clean, flat blank is appreciated and perhaps even more valuable.

    With short pieces it's easy to get snipe if I allow it. I never get snipe on the leading edge and get no snipe on the trailing edge unless I let the front of a small, thick block rise up a bit as it comes through the sander. To prevent this I hold the leading edge down with a finger as it exits the sander. I've flattened warped pieces as wide as 16" and as short as 6". I would NEVER try flattening a short piece on my planer. BTW, you really need one side of a board flat when using a planer too. The usual recommendation is to joint one side first, difficult for a wide board for most people. Hand planing is another option.

    I have never had the end of the sandpaper loosen during use. Makes me wonder if the end is properly secured in the tensioning clamp. Perhaps too much force on the drum contributes. Perhaps the spring on the clip has weakened.

    I usually run the speed fairly high with coarse paper and rely in the machine to slow itself down if necessary. I don't know if they all drum sanders do this but my 22-44 senses the motor currents and will automatically slow down if decides the machine is working too hard.

    JKJ

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kapolei Hawaii
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    3,229
    And I thought I was the only one that uses a drum sander to flatten stuff.....
    It can flatten cupped stuff that's shorter than the sander's width, put it in sideways (or at a 45 if it's a bit longer) and it won't roll. For us turners with "smaller" 16" lathes this usually works.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,886
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    That is not necessarily true. Perhaps it is with the way you use your drum sander. I use mine often when neither side is flat. I don't usually sand long boards or wide panels but mostly use it for smaller things, fairly short rectangular boards, or cut round or to some other shape. One example is these turning blanks, used to make the things like shown in the second photo.

    IMG_7484.jpg penta_platter_Kristina_finished_comp3.jpg

    I cut these out of 6/4 and thicker boards - they are usually 6-16" across. Most are rough sawn, sometimes cut with a chain saw. Some start out with significant cupping or other warping. My goal is to have two flat and parallel sides, easy with the drum sander. Sometimes I do this so I can better see the surface and the figure any any defects before I decide exactly where to cut a blank. I usually do a dozen or so of these at once, feeding continuously, varying the feed angle often.

    I have the Performax 22-44 and use coarse paper when flattening for lathe use.

    The wood can start out seriously cupped or twisted. Yes, I know I can mount and turn a warped piece of wood. But I choose to flatten these because that's the way I like to work. Besides letting me better examine the wood I want at least one side flat since I initially mount with a Glaser screw chuck and I want it tight against a flat surface.

    If cupped, I put the concave surface down against the belt and run the wood through enough times to make a flat surface on perhaps 1/2 of the convex side, maybe more, maybe less. Like others, I make very small increments in height reduction. Then I flip the wood over and run it through until it flattens part of both edges on the convex side. After that, it's a series of passes with small thickness changes, flipping the blank as needed until it is flat on both sides.

    In the case where the wood is significantly twisted it's easy to slip (or glue) a thin shim under one corner to prevent rocking while making the other side flat.

    In addition, I often give these blanks to friends and students and when I auction them at demos (proceeds go to the club), a nice, clean, flat blank is appreciated and perhaps even more valuable.

    With short pieces it's easy to get snipe if I allow it. I never get snipe on the leading edge and get no snipe on the trailing edge unless I let the front of a small, thick block rise up a bit as it comes through the sander. To prevent this I hold the leading edge down with a finger as it exits the sander. I've flattened warped pieces as wide as 16" and as short as 6". I would NEVER try flattening a short piece on my planer. BTW, you really need one side of a board flat when using a planer too. The usual recommendation is to joint one side first, difficult for a wide board for most people. Hand planing is another option.

    I have never had the end of the sandpaper loosen during use. Makes me wonder if the end is properly secured in the tensioning clamp. Perhaps too much force on the drum contributes. Perhaps the spring on the clip has weakened.

    I usually run the speed fairly high with coarse paper and rely in the machine to slow itself down if necessary. I don't know if they all drum sanders do this but my 22-44 senses the motor currents and will automatically slow down if decides the machine is working too hard.

    JKJ
    I guess my comment makes me look like a hack. What I was saying was based on reports of trouble on the internet and from experience when teaching classes at Woodcraft. My point is that a Performax is a finesse machine while a wide belt is the machine for serious material removal. At least Malcom understood.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    198
    For reference, my 25-50 removes 1/16" per revolution of the depth adjustment. So a 1/8 turn equals about 8 thou.

    *and the manual for the Super Max 25-50 says to take 1/8 to 1/16 turns with 80 grit.
    Last edited by Keegan Shields; 01-05-2022 at 4:01 PM.

  15. #15
    not to me richard I think drum sanders are an inferior way to sand. They are calibrating machines. My material is calibrated when it comes out of a planer.

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